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Old 02-15-2012, 04:11 PM   #31
miguel1626
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Even though I love Cornell Woolrich, Hitchcock's Rear Window is much better than the Woolrich story it was based on. And Hitchcock's Psycho is a vast improvement on the Robert Bloch novel.
I think that Hitchcock's Psycho is on par with Bloch's novel. I could even accept the argument that it's better in some aspects, but to call it a "vast improvement"? Here we have to part ways.

BTW, the fact that the LotR movies "cut to the chase" is probably a boon to people with the attention-span of toddlers

EDIT: Regarding Psycho, there's nothing in the book that matches the pathos of the shower scene. Here I gladly conceded the superiority of the movie.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:12 PM   #32
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I'm going to agree with THE GODFATHER. The book had quite a lot of material in it that was cut from the movie, and rightly so (IMHO).
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:18 PM   #33
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I generally find if the book is good they will make a dull film and vice versa (generally, don't kill me, a non-English-speaking-born, with limited access to what you have read/seen)

Two goats are eating an old film tape, one goat at each end. When they finally meet in the middle one of them says "but the book was better"
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:19 PM   #34
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I wonder if it matters whether one sees the film before reading the book?
I think it does. I am a Pride and Prejudice snob, and I hate the film adaptations that totally rewrite the character of Eliza Bennet...

I read the book About a Boy before I saw the movie and didn't like the movie as much as the book.

However I saw High Fidelity first and I am more critical of the book... So yeah, I think whichever I was exposed to first makes me critical of the other.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:22 PM   #35
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A recent one... "Water for Elephants". The book was confusing at times, trying to keep track of what was going on between the owner and the ringleader. (I forget their names). Also, the old man was hard to like in the book.

The movie combined the two characters into one, making a much tighter storyline and a stronger villain, and made the old man a much more likable character, it was easier to connect to him and feel his story.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:22 PM   #36
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I am going to disagree about the Princess Bride. I am not going to say the book was better... I just think there is a lot of humor in the book that just can't translate to screen (and to the the credit of producers and director, they didn't try). The movie is great, but the bit about Westley and Buttercup's reunion kiss not being included in the book (because it is an "abridgment") is making me smile just thinking about it.

--
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #37
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Three Days of the Condor was a wonderful Robert Redford film, better than the James Grady novel Six Days of the Condor. I also enjoyed another Redford vehicle, The Hot Rock, much more than the Westlake book.
If we're talking Westlake: BANK SHOT was a reasonably amusing book but I found the movie dreadful. Other than the title there wasn't much to suggest they paid Westlake for anything beyond the title.

Which reminds me of the two worst bits of SF-to-movie butchery: NIGHTFALL and STARSHIP TROOPERS. The latter would've been better off dropping the pretense of being even "inspired" by Heinlein and just calling it NAZIS IN SPACE.

The former doesn't have even that going for it. (brrr.)

(The ROUGHNECKS animated series, on the other hand, is actually good. Go figure.)
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #38
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Nazis in space:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py_IndUbcxc
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:41 PM   #39
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See? My point.
That one has two chances at making money; by being actually good farce, or by being so bad its actually good.

Too bad they couldn't launch on April 1st.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:31 PM   #40
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I have to disagree about 'The Princess Bride', too - the movie is such a 'stripped-down' version of the book, it had only about 10% of the book's value, IMHO. The book is about our relationships with books and the interrelation between the worlds we inhabit (RL vs fantasy) - the movie was all right so far as it went, but there's no way a film could capture the book, because movie viewers don't inhabit those worlds the way that readers do.

Back to the Original Question - the first thing that popped into my head was 'The Black Stallion'. I also offer 'Mary Poppins'.

Also agree with the assessment that perhaps TV is a better medium for filmed novels - the BBC versions of 'Our Mutual Friend' and of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North and South' spring to mind. Both excellent.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:55 PM   #41
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Lord of the Rings - the film was more engaging and did some much-needed updating.

The Princess Bride - I think the casting and delivery added more that the novel couldn't provide at the time; the new version of the book incorporates the film into the narrative so I think it's better than the movie.

Fight Club - Not that the novel was horrible to begin with, but I think the movie had more ooompth, especially by the time we get to the ending.

Starship Troopers - The film and the book are two entirely different creatures.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:39 PM   #42
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Three old films, from novels by Nevil Shute:

"A Town Like Alice", "No Highway" and "On the Beach". *

For me, Shute was a very pedestrian writer, but he told great stories, so his books worked really well as films.

* (The story goes that Ava Gardner said she thought it was very appropriate to make a film about the end of the world in Melbourne. It was probably pretty dull back in about 1960.)
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:59 AM   #43
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I'm still asking myself why do I see Lord of the Rings on this list. You can't compare the depth of the book with the movie. Don't get me wrong, the movie was great but the book was more than that.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:52 AM   #44
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The theatrical releases have really bad pacing, the extended versions confirm as much since they're vastly superior. I mean it's not even close.
Oh really? I never seen the theater version. Got only the extended box set. Even the extended leaves a lot to wish for compared to the book. Don't get me wrong, I like the movies and I am debating if rebuying them in BD is worth it.

LotR is probably a very good example why comparing movie to book won't always work. You can like one and not the other or both or none. If the book is better then it does not automatically make the movie bad.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:52 AM   #45
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I'm still asking myself why do I see Lord of the Rings on this list. You can't compare the depth of the book with the movie. Don't get me wrong, the movie was great but the book was more than that.
I avoided seeing the movies for the longest time. But I broke down, I watched them and they may very well be the greatest thing ever. Not as a telling of Tolkien's epic story, oh no. But as costume porn.
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